Inflorescence not exceeding imbricate bracts. Male flowers with outer tepals inserted at base of floral axis; outer tepals free or fused; inner tepals inserted above on floral axis, reduced and 2- or 3-toothed, or 2 or 3 hyaline tepals, usually with small dark gland on inner surface; stamens usually twice the number of inner tepals; anthers often black. Female flowers with perianth absent or outer tepals 2 or 3, inserted at base of floral axis; inner tepals inserted above on floral axis, 2 or 3, usually erect, hyaline, sometimes with small gland on inner surface; ovary with simple style branches.
Leach (2017) highlights the distinctive sculpturing of the seed coats as a useful feature.
| ||Key to the species|| |
|1||Female flowers with perianth absent and so ovary appearing to be distinctly shortly pedicellate||Eriocaulon australasicum|
|Female flowers with 2 or 3 outer tepals and 3 inner tepals; ovary sessile||2|
|2||Leaves more than 20 cm long; inflorescence on scape 33–100 cm long||Eriocaulon australe|
|Leaves to c. 8 cm long; inflorescence on scape mostly 1–12 cm long (to 30 cm in E. scariosum)|
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|3||Involucral bracts thickened, rigid, not reflexed at maturity; seeds more or less smooth at maturity with epidermal cell outlines scarcely visible||Eriocaulon carsonii|
|Involucral bracts slender, flexible, reflexed at maturity; seeds with surface pattern obvious at maturity|
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|4||Floral bracts with white hairs; epidermal cells of seeds more or less isodiametric||Eriocaulon scariosum|
|Floral bracts glabrous; epidermal cells of seeds transversely elongated|
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